Engineering Experts (2) (Junior Long Term Technical Assistance to RWASH Program)
Specific background to the assignment
Engineering capacity has been a long term key bottleneck for the Government’s RWASH Program. Historically, qualified engineers could be attracted in the sector; however, recent competition (especially the private sector) has meant that engineers often pursue opportunities outside the public sector, which may be seen as more attractive. For many years, the RWASH Program has had a Chief Engineer and one Senior Engineer in the establishment (the Chief Engineer has been on study leave since early 2017). The hiring of two more engineers on contracts within RWASH in January 2018 will help to address the significant backlog in project designs for water supply and hygiene, and will also support with reviewing technical proposals for outsourced projects. However, the engineers will be based in Honiara, and although it is envisaged that they will carry out site inspections and undertake surveys as part of their work, their scope and therefore time in the field is limited, and cannot stretch to the whole country in order to meet the strategic plan targets.
There is a clear correlation between good design and good construction. Currently, it is estimated that only 30% of all Solomon Government RWASH projects are designed by engineers. This has led to a serious compromise in the quality, and therefore sustainability of projects. The lack of engineers also affects quality control: very few (if any) mid- or end- inspections are carried out, again leading to varying construction quality, designs not being followed, budget overruns, poor performing systems, and incomplete projects. Engineers are therefore instrumental not just in the quality of design and construction, but in monitoring this as well.
Quality survey and design will also assist the budgeting and planning process, and therefore the subsequent implementation of the annual work plans. In addition, the RWASH Program has moved towards outsourcing direct implementation, which requires high quality technical scoping documents. In this case, contracting will be an even bigger challenge than it already is.
More engineers are needed to ramp up the output of the Program. Two Senior Engineers, based in Honiara were recruited on a contract basis at the start of 2018, and it is expected that a Volunteer Engineer will join the Program during the first quarter of 2018. This is in addition to the Junior Expert positions outlined in this ToR (who will provide capacity building at Provincial level to EHD staff). Both the Strategic Plan targets and the targets contained within the EU Financing Agreement are highly ambitious, and, in the case of the latter, funding support is performance dependent. If the Program and RWASH Sector do not deliver, access to funding for the sector will be reduced.
With funds being made available to the RWASH Program through Contract Amendment 3 for the Service Contract with the managing firm, two engineers will be placed in two provinces Malaita and Western) to boost both the quality and the quantity of regional projects.
For more information, please see the attached ToR.
The applications can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org with “JNKE SIRWASH” in the subject line.